It’s a hazard that the Miss Africa Belgium 2014 – Esther Tshiaba lives quite close to the photo studio here in Eupen. So when I saw an article about her in the local papers I proposed her a photo session. We found a time slot and we went for a two hour session. Shooting a model that has already a lot of experience with pro and fashion photographers could be intimidating, but we had a good time and I’m proud of the results.
Within the next weeks I will change my focus a little bit and do a series of male portraits. To some extend it’s easier as the character of a face can have more contrast and latitude in exposure. On the other hand I have to admit that I have fewer ideas – at least for now. So I started this series with a more classical approach. The idea was to produce images that could be used for business purposes but with less formal objects like ties or watches.
I used the wonderful Fujifilm xf 56 mm lens only with Elinchom studio flashes and final touch in Lightroom 5. I tuned the gray background until it became quite black to focus on the face and expression of the eye.
Images taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 200, 1/180 sec, F8-F11, two D-Lite 4 with an octobox in the right front and strip light in the left back supported by a white reflector also on the left front.
I prepared my strobes as always. I do not want the modes to wait for too long before I start shooting – it still takes some time when it starts. When Karo came in, I instantly know that I had to soften the light. What I prepared was way to hash. But I decided to start with the configuration I prepared to have some orientation. We tried several configurations and viewpoints, but nothing worked for what I wanted. Only after 2,5 hours and no more ideas in my mind that the light turned out to come close to what was needed. The black background turned to much smoother gray tone and the warm tone made it softer.
I used the X-T1 with the XF 56mm all the time. I was so concentrated, that I forgot to test or use other lenses. The peak of quality was at f8, no doubt. At f11 or even f16, it became worth. The sharpness became moody and the skin tones waxy. As I work very close with all the studio strobes I had to power it all down and take some more distance. Then I found the balance between light and aperture. Next time I will use neutral density filter to stay at f8 with some latitude on the Elinchrom strobes.